Sharing technologies will cut costs in both offshore wind and wave & tidal power sectors, says renewable energy chief

One of the turbines being launched at the MeyGen tidal array power station being developed by Atlantis Resources off Caithness
One of the turbines being launched at the MeyGen tidal array power station being developed by Atlantis Resources off Caithness

As offshore wind farms are built further out to sea, developers are looking to new cost-cutting technologies developed for the less mature wave and tidal industry.

In return, growing wave and tidal developments are taking ideas that have dramatically reduced the bottom-line in offshore wind installation and project delivery.

Sharing innovation, systems and practices proven to bring down costs between the two “exciting sectors” – both world leaders in their technologies – will contribute to increasing supply of both into the national grid, an event to explore the synergies between the two sectors was told.

In the week a report stated that tidal energy could cut costs to £90 per MWH and up to 4,000 jobs could be created within wave power energy, the second of a series of events to encourage greater cross-sector collaboration between offshore wind and other sectors was held at Orbis Energy in Lowestoft.

Dujon Goncalves-Collins, Renewable UK’s programme director said that the power sector is undergoing rapid change, with renewables playing a central role in the decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation of the modern energy system.

The “two exciting sectors” are both global leaders with lessons to share.

“30% of the UK’s electricity is already being generated by renewables – half of which comes from wind,” he said.

“Our vision for 2030 is to increase the UK’s offshore wind capacity to 30GW, employing 27,000 people especially in coastal communities, and increasing our export value five-fold to £2.6 billion a year.

“The UK is also a world leader in wave and tidal energy with ground-breaking projects and globally-renowned testing facilities”.

The North Sea offered perfect conditions for offshore wind but, when it comes to exporting technologies, the US and Taiwan presented complex installation challenges where ideas from wave and tidal could be adapted to wind.

While wave and tidal projects might not be developed in the East of England, with the south-west and Scotland as centres, there were opportunities for the supply chain and service sector in the sector, which offered huge potential for many years.

Steve Jermy, Chartered Marine Renewables Technologist & Head of Offshore Aviation for tidal and wave energy installers, James Fisher Marine Services, said offshore wind could learn from the systems approach of the tidal industry.

He said: “We use offshore operations simulation software in a number of ways, including front-end engineering design, feasibility work, bid preparation, offshore operations R&D simulations. We are also using this now to better understand how best to fit helicopters into offshore wind projects.”

A lesson from offshore wind to tidal energy was the development of bespoke installation vessels and subsea tools that offered the opportunity for significant cost reductions.

Meanwhile, the National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) is hosting a ‘master-class’ workshop in Aberdeen tomorrow to explore joint and mutual wave and tidal power opportunities. Key players taking part include Atlantis Resources.

Scotland is playing a leading role in the commercialisation of wave and tidal stream energy, including via the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney and the world’s first large-scale tidal stream array, MeyGen, in the Pentland Firth, which generated first power in 2016.

The emerging tidal power sector is already generating significant commercial opportunities. More than £450 million has been spent across the UK wave and tidal supply chain to date and the global industry is forecast to be worth up to £76 billion by 2050, subject to successful commercialisation.

The workshop – comprising speakers, case studies and technical sessions – is aimed at technical specialists, businesses and researchers within the subsea, wave and tidal communities and will draw upon research undertaken by NSRI and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult & Energy Technology Partnership to explore current and future technical challenges and commercial opportunities.

15 May 2018





Smoke-and-mirror oil and gas signals from Scottish Renewables?


The ‘ there is more that unites us than divides us’ smoke-signal is being heavily-puffed up the lum from the wind-dominated Scottish Renewables** industry association on the common issues and sharing of best-practice and similar skills between the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors:

So much so, that the traditionally oil-and-gas only Wood Group diversified into renewables last year when it acquired a Glasgow-based green-consultancy. Other large conglomerates elsewhere in Scotland and in England’s N. Sea oil and gas sector in Norfolk, are doing likewise.

In Scotland, ONLY Scottish Energy News provides the 3-in-1 one-stop, all energy sectors, coverage of oil, gas, wind, solar, biomass, wave and tidal power and hydrogen energy.

Therefore, for Scottish Renewables to overlook Scottish Energy News and instead form ‘partnerships’ with England-based and English-owned media – which cover only the wind energy sector – is, at best, ‘curious’.

Or, as Lt. Spock would have said to Capt. James T. Kirk on the USS Enterprise: “That’s illogical, captain.”


* * The Scottish Renewables chief executive has said she can see a “really strong relationship” forming between the oil and gas and renewables sectors as they look towards the energy transition.

Claire Mack looked at the similarities and ways each sector can benefit the other, saying that they share a common language and way of working, particularly in terms of the supply chain. She said:

“I can see a really strong relationship between oil and gas and renewables in terms of managing that energy transition and we’re both talking the same language around about that.

3 May 2018

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